DCC: Hubris Session 13,14
This will be a chronicle of the final two sessions in the long running Hubris drop in campaign. We averaged about 4-10 players each session for almost 8 months. Ages ranging from 8-43. It’s been a trip.
-Assist with the Siege of Eisenbar
-Complete their quest and get home
With the team having been heard sabotaging some of the cannons on the wall of the city of Eisenbar, they split up and hid. A few of them managed to steal some of the gunpowder kegs as well, hoping they would come in handy later. To get away they gave up one of their elves to the authorities as a mutant saboteur. This allowed the elf to take the fall for the act, but means they would be tortured and put on the Bloody Spire while still alive where they would slowly die. After laying low for a few hours they made it back to their room at the Inn safely.
It was now just two days till the army of mutant conscripts, mercenaries, and vampires would arrive outside the walls of Eisenbar. The team spent the time making a foolproof plan to getting the gates open. The Great Iron Wall of Pain has a gate on either side with a wheel mechanism that needed to be turned simultaneously with its twin in order for the gate to open and close. Each wheel is operated by ten slaves. These gate houses are protected by a garrison in each of then, surrounded by garrisons that patrol the gate regularly. Not an easy task for the team. But good thing for them, they have a wizard who likes to spellburn. The archers would take position in a building across the square from the gate, while the others would dress as paladins and stay behind the wizard. During their two days of spying from inside the city they also discovered the warehouse where the gunpowder was stored for the cannons. They convinced the workers there to give them a cart full of gunpowder which the team would use as a terrible back up plan.
After waiting, as the sun set in the night sky, the alarm went up in the city. The army from Evernight Keep was approaching and the city was now on alert. It was time. Finding a house at the edge of the square overlooking the gate, the team climbed up to the second floor window, to see a dead citizen, knife on his wrists, laying in his bed. The citizen had taken their own life in fear of the vampire army. They took their positions and waited till the square filled with paladins and priests. The wizard stepped out the front door, drew blood from his body for his patron and cast “Sleep”. The spell was so powerful every living creature within 500 yards (That’s 1500 feet) fell asleep in an endless slumber from which they would never awaken unless the wizard willed it so. With the entire front lines out of commission, the team went into action. The Mountain Men and Putrid Damsels went for the eastern tower, while the main team went for the western one. The adventures left in the house took sniping shots at any soldiers that tried to enter the towers, while a few turned a wall cannon onto the city itself, sending fire and mortar down on the Eisenbar paladins. With some luck and might the chains were broken and the mighty gates fell open, allowing the army to swarm in. However, the army was not just swelled with mutant and vampires, but also with behemoth abominations with multiple arms rippling with bulging muscle. These massive mutations rampaged through the Eisenbar lines, crushing any resistance they came across. Back at the house, several soldiers were entering it, but a brave peasant conscript lit one of the gunpowder kegs and held it while running toward the door, destroying the front of the home and allowing a much needed distraction while the rest of the sniper team escaped out the back.
With the gate open, most of the paladins never to awaken, and abominations ripping through the streets, the city was taken.
HOW: They players spent a good hour of real time planning this assault. They even had a back up plan of blowing up the gunpowder warehouse and various other buildings if the spell didn’t work. Using distraction and disguise they managed to open up the city for attack. I made them pay for that armour and they used the hell out of it. I didn’t make it easy for them, I had personality checks and luck checks flying all over the place. Fate was just on their side this time.
The wizard spell burnt all his physical stats down to 5 in order to get a whopping 34 on that spell check. It was amazing. He crippled his own character so that the battle would be won, and in kind one of the other players used a powder keg as a suicide vest to blow up a bunch of guys. With the gate towers one character even had his cow blocking the stairs to prevent the paladins from coming up faster. It was really well executed.
The team at this point didn’t know anything about the abominations, and thought they were just beefy mutant.
The wizard rested in the medical tent while the army pushed back the remaining forces to the Bloody Spire. The paladins had destroyed the bridges that spanned the Pit of Weakness and were shooting cannons and spells at the surrounding invaders.The team convinced Yeldon, the Master of Shadows, to lend them an abomination to climb them up the Bloody Spire from the bottom of the Pit of Weakness so they could infiltrate it and take out the Anointer of Pain, Altor Von Krall. He reluctantly agreed and the team was carried to the doors after the cannons from inside the Spire had stopped firing. They used one of the powder kegs they had stolen to blow the door open and get them inside.
Inside they were met with only confusion. All the paladins were dead. Their bodies shrivelled and drained. They investigated the spire floor by floor and found only desiccated bodies. As they climbed up to the top they came across a ornate metal door where they could hear deep chanting coming from inside. Without a thought they burst in and loosed arrows at Altor Von Krall. They found him in his holy robes surrounded by bodies. As the arrow pierced his skin he uttered only one last phrase. “Thank-you”. As soon as Altor dropped, the Spire started to shake and drops of rain fell from the sky. A massive portal had opened up above the spire, and from the top they could see that it was draining the Lake of the Flayed over the Pit of Weakness. As the water fell on the high red tower, it started to crumble and fall. The Clerics both begged their gods for help, asking for divine aid in their most desperate hour. One god ignored their servant, but another appeared and provided the Cleric with a safe fall to the city below. No one was hurt. As the team met up with their entire group and looked over the now filled Pit of Weakness, they head a terrible noise. The waters shifted and rising up from the Pit, covered in spikes and chains, wielding a massive flail, was Drallic the Flayer himself. He towered over the buildings, a massive figure of scarred flesh and rage. With one gesture he swung his flail and the armies were routed, being sliced and tossed aside like ants. The abominations went in to try and stop him, but Drallic whispered some words and the abominations turned on their masters, and started to also decimate the armies. The team looked at each other and knew there was only one choice. Run.
The team got back to the wall and tried to set up a cannon line to slow down the approaching abominations, but with the army in close quarters with them and Drallic crushing buildings with every swing of his flail, it was only partially effective. The team did their best to get as many people out of the city as they could before destroying the bridge over the acid moat. In the end most of the army was lost, the city in utter ruin, and a living god (who just stepped over the moat) on his way to Evernight Keep to enact his revenge.
The team confronted Yelden about the abominations and they learned that all of them were volunteers. He had made a deal with the Klind to have a temple in Evernight Keep in exchange for the chemical vats that the Klind used to make abominations themselves. At this point the team decided to return to Izabell the Shrieking Princess. But, to ensure they would not be followed by Drallic, one of the Clerics used to copy of the skin bound Sacraments of Pain and all the holy paraphernalia that they had gotten from the priests of the Flayer to contact Drallic and divert his attention to the Klind. Wearing the robes of his priests and armor of his paladins, they managed to convince Drallic that it wasn’t just the vampires, but the Klind that also has a hand in the fall of the city. He believed them, and swore to crush them after he was done with Evernight Keep. With this ruse complete, they made the long journey back to the Ziggurat.
HOW: Since I kind of modelled Eisenbar after the city from “Attack on Titan” I thought it would be cool to have a massive titan attack, and conscript the lesser titans to fight with him. With the Anointer of Pain killed the Spire would fall, as described on page 100 of the book. “It is believed that should the Anointer of Pain ever fail in his duty, the Bloody Spire will crumble and fall into the pit.” So as soon as they killed Altor Von Krall, there goes the tower. He had already taken enough life energy from all the people in the Spire that nothing could stop him from summoning his god in the flesh to get revenge. The players didn’t know this, so it was funny to have them squirm when they were in a falling spire. They used the divine aid rules from the DCC core book on page 31, and one of them rolled a 25. So for me that meant absolute divine intervention. I did give them a hard choice. They can either save themselves for sure, or summon a champion of their god to fight Drallic. They chose to save themselves and then run away. They did make a few efforts to try and save as many people as they could, but that was just a few of the players trying that. Most of them went right out of the city immediately. I thought it was great.
Convincing Drallic of the Klinds part in this was a fun diversion. Since they had collected all the religious stuff I figured they could make the attempt. Sure enough those rolls were with them and they did it. They were really careful to make a convincing lie to the god. I was proud.
Returning to the Ziggurat after so long they found it had changed a lot since they left. The sand had shifted to reveal more of the ziggurat, and a settlement of people and worshippers had taken residence outside. The team was greeted as heroes as they made their way in. Reaching The Shrieking Princess they found her to be still chained, but her chains to be weakened, and her body regaining some of the beauty she had lost. After learning of the fall of Eisenbar she tore herself free of her chains, proclaiming now that the power of Drallic was far weaker she was now free. She was enraged to hear he was summoned to the world, but was pleased to hear she would not be blamed for the attack.
She came close to her champions and asked what their wish would be for their service. Some wished to go home, while another who was mutated wished to go to a place where he and his adopted mutant baby would be safe and free. She offered the others power and magics in order to become her champions full time, setting out to fulfil her wishes and spread the knowledge of her return. Some of the team took this offer and choose to remain in Hubris.
Weeks later the Ziggurat now had a growing city around it, and news that Drallic the Flayer had been killed after utterly destroying Evernight Keep and losing to the Klind, spread far and wide. The news of a new goddess in Hubris, the Princess Izabell, caused people to flock to her castle, and a new religion was formed.
HOW: This was all RP. I was shocked when some players wanted their characters to stay. The mutant player was a fun tie in to my next campaign I’ll do with this drop in, Mutant Crawl Classics. His characters descendants and tribesmen will be the next wave of player character for that game.
EPILOGUE: At the end of the session one of my players put his pencil down and said to me. “So, we killed a tyrant nation and their god, but only to replace it with another tyrant nation with an evil god?”
“Yes” I said. “That’s Hubris”
FINAL JUDGE NOTES
Hubris is a fantastic book to use. Once you wrap your head around just rolling with all the randomness you will have a great time. It’s been fun and I look forward to Mike Evans of DIY RPG Productions releasing more stuff for Hubris. I’ll play it for sure.
Music listened to: “This is the End” The Doors, “Pulse” DEAD FETUS (from a witchhouse mix), “I Am The Night” Perturbator.
Dungeon Crawl Classics is published by Goodman Games and Hubris: A World of Visceral Adventure is written by Mike Evans.